Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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Sy Borg
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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GE Morton wrote: January 9th, 2022, 2:20 pm
If you live in a tribe of five, if the least productive member is hungry, do you feed him or her?

What of a tribe of ten? Or twenty? Fifty? A hundred? I expect you would know them all, so empathy may well be a factor.
If I lived in a tribe, of any size (provided I had personal relationships with all other members), then I would almost certainly be inclined to feed another member of the tribe who could not feed himself, because I would have a personal interest in the welfare of all the other members. I would see them as bothers and sisters. That is the difference between tribal societies and civilized ones.
In this context, size matters. The Cherokee numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Consider where the line would be drawn. How many people does it take to start treating insiders as outsiders?
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

Post by GE Morton »

Belindi wrote: January 9th, 2022, 3:02 pm
The meanings of 'liberty' and 'freedom' are the uses of the words. The uses of the words always are within a social context.
Of course. Language would not have evolved, or been needed, outside a social context. You may be confusing "social context" with a particular ideological context.
The political connotation of 'liberty' in recent years has been much influenced by right wing spin. So far , connotations of the word 'freedom' have not been been influenced by right wing spin doctors who are not enamoured of equality. Liberty and equality are recognised as mutually incompatible, whereas freedom and equality are compatible to a degree.
Well, I asked for some examples of this "right-wing spin." You offered only some phrases which use the term with meanings well within the dictionary meanings.

Far from being incompatible, liberty (or freedom) and equality are logically linked: equality implies freedom. But that depends upon what you have in mind by "equality." When classical liberals (and libertarians) spoke of equality, they meant "formal equality," or equality of moral status --- equality "in the eyes of God," or the eyes of the State ("Equal protection of the law"). I.e., there are no natural, hereditary "classes" of royalty, nobility, peasantry; no masters and no slaves. Legal and moral duties, constraints, and prerogatives apply equally to all.

In that sense equality implies liberty, since no man is another's master or servant, except temporarily and by mutual consent.

Modern lefties, however, mean something different by "equality": they argue for material equality, i.e., equality of wealth, "social status," and other measures and indicators of well-being. Those, however, depend upon highly variable personal factors which are manifestly not equally distributed among all humans. People differ greatly in the talents, strengths, physical constitutions, psychological and emotional characteristics they bring with them into the world, and in the interests and skills they develop over the course of their lives, all of which affect their ability (and motivation) to generate wealth. Those differences are innate and unalterable, and so the demand for material equality can only be satisfied by violating formal equality, i.e., by forcing some people into servitude for the benefit of others.

To which type of equality do you refer?
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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Sy Borg wrote: January 9th, 2022, 3:41 pm
In this context, size matters. The Cherokee numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
Oooh, not likely. The entire native population of N. America north of Mexico in 1800 is estimated to have been about 600,000.

https://www.cairn.info/revue-annales-de ... age-17.htm

The "Cherokee," by the way, is a very vague term, which can refer to a specific tribe or to the "Cherokee Nation" which embraced many tribes.
Consider where the line would be drawn. How many people does it take to start treating insiders as outsiders?
What matters is the extent of personal relationships. When a group becomes too large for every member to know and interact with every other member, the sense of brotherhood, the tribal bonds, begin to break down. The group is no longer a "family." The more respects in which the "strangers" in the group diverge --- in skin color, languages spoken, gods worshipped, styles of dress, dietary habits, cultural practices, etc. --- the weaker those affinities become, until they disappear entirely.

I posted an essay on this phenomenon a couple of times. Don't know if you saw it.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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GE Morton wrote: January 9th, 2022, 9:51 pm
Consider where the line would be drawn. How many people does it take to start treating insiders as outsiders?
What matters is the extent of personal relationships. When a group becomes too large for every member to know and interact with every other member, the sense of brotherhood, the tribal bonds, begin to break down. The group is no longer a "family." The more respects in which the "strangers" in the group diverge --- in skin color, languages spoken, gods worshipped, styles of dress, dietary habits, cultural practices, etc. --- the weaker those affinities become, until they disappear entirely.

I posted an essay on this phenomenon a couple of times. Don't know if you saw it.
Chimps usually tend to only manage to maintain groups of up to one hundred before group members are treated as outsiders.

Still, I expect you would agree that making homelessness illegal is about as logical as outlawing mental illness.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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Sy Borg wrote: January 9th, 2022, 10:58 pm
Still, I expect you would agree that making homelessness illegal is about as logical as outlawing mental illness.
Of course I'd agree with that! As I mentioned in a response to Chewybrian (I think) governments have an obligation to assure that the homeless have a place they can "legally be." They have no obligation to provide anyone with housing, however. That is a task for charities.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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GE Morton wrote: January 10th, 2022, 12:54 am
Sy Borg wrote: January 9th, 2022, 10:58 pm
Still, I expect you would agree that making homelessness illegal is about as logical as outlawing mental illness.
Of course I'd agree with that! As I mentioned in a response to Chewybrian (I think) governments have an obligation to assure that the homeless have a place they can "legally be." They have no obligation to provide anyone with housing, however. That is a task for charities.
I can understand homeless [people not wanting to stay in some place amongst dangerous people without protection.

Imagine that you were homeless and some heavies on the street had targeted you. If they were regulars at the homeless shelter, you would take your chances on the streets, rules or no rules, and probably be punished while the thugs are cared for by unwitting welfare workers. I have a friend who used to be homeless. He felt safest sleeping on trains.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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GEMorton replied to me:
Of course. Language would not have evolved, or been needed, outside a social context. You may be confusing "social context" with a particular ideological context.
Ideological contexts are also social contexts. Societies evolve by means of power.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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Belindi wrote: January 10th, 2022, 10:33 am
Ideological contexts are also social contexts. Societies evolve by means of power.
Oh, no. Power --- warfare, revolutions, conquests --- produce change, but not evolutionary change. They typically merely replace one tyranny with another. Evolutionary change is driven by ideas. The inventions of the printing press, steam engine, electric generator, the transistor (etc.) produced more evolutionary change in societies than all of history's wars combined.

You didn't answer the question re: Of what type of equality you were speaking.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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Sy Borg wrote: January 9th, 2022, 3:41 pm
In this context, size matters. The Cherokee numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
GE Morton wrote: January 9th, 2022, 9:51 pm Oooh, not likely. The entire native population of N. America north of Mexico in 1800 is estimated to have been about 600,000.
By that time, the genocide was nearly complete. Biological and conventional (i.e. guns) warfare saw to that. Prior to the arrival of European invaders, the population of the North American continent numbered in the millions...
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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GE Morton wrote: January 10th, 2022, 2:14 pm
Belindi wrote: January 10th, 2022, 10:33 am
Ideological contexts are also social contexts. Societies evolve by means of power.
Oh, no. Power --- warfare, revolutions, conquests --- produce change, but not evolutionary change. They typically merely replace one tyranny with another. Evolutionary change is driven by ideas. The inventions of the printing press, steam engine, electric generator, the transistor (etc.) produced more evolutionary change in societies than all of history's wars combined.

You didn't answer the question re: Of what type of equality you were speaking.
Yes, but existential need for power as related to total environments is the basic motivation of all living things. Actual and potential tyranny are never absent, but we know better than to tolerate it.

The type of equality I refer to is the result of applying the Axial Age ethic, which is the ethic that modern civilisation is based on.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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Belindi wrote: January 11th, 2022, 7:58 am
The type of equality I refer to is the result of applying the Axial Age ethic, which is the ethic that modern civilisation is based on.
I was not aware of any distinctive "Axial Age" ethic, or concept of equality. Could you elaborate? The two concepts I mentioned, however, are quite well defined, well understood, and clearly distinguishable.

That modern civilization is "based" on this "Axial Age ethic" is dubious, not only because that ethic is unspecified, but because the entire notion of an "Axial Age" is dubious, lacking any empirical support. It seems to be an effort by Karl Jaspers, a philosopher of religion, to explain the origins of and to unify the "spiritual foundations" of modern societies. But what a "spiritual foundation" might be, or whether any society has one or needs one, is dubious.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: January 11th, 2022, 7:46 am By that time, the genocide was nearly complete. Biological and conventional (i.e. guns) warfare saw to that. Prior to the arrival of European invaders, the population of the North American continent numbered in the millions...
That's true. The pre-Columbian population of N. America is estimated to have been between 1 and 10 million. Not "guns," however. Very few natives were killed by violence in the first two centuries after Columbus's arrival. Smallpox and other diseases reduced the population.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

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Pattern-chaser wrote: January 11th, 2022, 7:46 am By that time, the genocide was nearly complete. Biological and conventional (i.e. guns) warfare saw to that. Prior to the arrival of European invaders, the population of the North American continent numbered in the millions...
GE Morton wrote: January 11th, 2022, 1:24 pm That's true. The pre-Columbian population of N. America is estimated to have been between 1 and 10 million. Not "guns," however. Very few natives were killed by violence in the first two centuries after Columbus's arrival. Smallpox and other diseases reduced the population.
A Native American I conversed with (on the interweb) some time ago reckoned that the number who died due to the genocidal European settlers was 180 million, but I have no other evidence to back that up.
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: January 11th, 2022, 2:21 pm
A Native American I conversed with (on the interweb) some time ago reckoned that the number who died due to the genocidal European settlers was 180 million, but I have no other evidence to back that up.
That number exceeds even the wildest estimate of the entire native population of the New World by a factor of 3.

But obtaining a reliable number is all but impossible. Here is a summary of the various estimates considered "reasonable":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Populatio ... e_Americas
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Re: Is being homeless a crime / should it be?

Post by Belindi »

GE Morton wrote: January 11th, 2022, 1:18 pm
Belindi wrote: January 11th, 2022, 7:58 am
The type of equality I refer to is the result of applying the Axial Age ethic, which is the ethic that modern civilisation is based on.
I was not aware of any distinctive "Axial Age" ethic, or concept of equality. Could you elaborate? The two concepts I mentioned, however, are quite well defined, well understood, and clearly distinguishable.

That modern civilization is "based" on this "Axial Age ethic" is dubious, not only because that ethic is unspecified, but because the entire notion of an "Axial Age" is dubious, lacking any empirical support. It seems to be an effort by Karl Jaspers, a philosopher of religion, to explain the origins of and to unify the "spiritual foundations" of modern societies. But what a "spiritual foundation" might be, or whether any society has one or needs one, is dubious.
The story of man's past may be viewed as a necessary process of development from tribal to universal ethics. For instance the Fertile Crescent (and settled farming generally) was not only physical geography it was also an economic unit in the sense that it led to surplus production of goods by men . Surplus production leads to trade which would be impossible but for the basic ethic that underwrites mutual trust.
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